Before addressing today's practice itself, which once again was a situational day as the team prepares for the trip to Carolina for their first preseason game of 2017, a couple of rookies have stood out to their teammates this camp.
Both Julien Davenport and Treston Decoud have turned heads during the team's preparation for the upcoming season and the locker room has been taking notice. Davenport and Decoud both arrived to Houston as draft picks and little was known about either of them. Their teammates have developed an appreciation for what each of them brings to the team.
Starting with Davenport, one player said that he is better than he initially thought and the small school product has been a nice surprise. Teammates like his long arms and how he is able to control pass rushers. Defensive players are taking time out to discuss with him how they attempt to gain the upper hand versus offensive lineman. Also, there has been talk of him being ahead of the curve when it comes to his craft. Davenport is making a strong impression on both sides of the ball and receives quite a bit of praise.
As for Decoud, one of his fellow defenders loves how big he is for a cornerback and called him a “tough win” when he lines up against receivers. His sheer size and movement skills have impressed teammates and they like what he can bring this year and the coming seasons.
The trio of Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, and Kevin Johnson remains firmly supplanted as the top three cornerbacks for the Texans. Their collective knowledge of the defense allows the coaches to shuffle in younger players to work next to them. The secondary essentially has extra coaches to help along the younger guys like Treston Decoud, Bryce Jones, and Dee Virgin from practice to practice. The newer players continue to pick veterans' brains as they work to understand route combinations and the overall look of the scheme.
Denzel Rice continues to have a strong camp and today he notched another interception on a pass to the corner of the end zone. Rice has looked more fluid as camp has gone on and continues to be a plus cover player. He is in the right place at the right time and with a year already in the system, he is gaining confidence as camp moves ahead.
With the injuries to the wide receiver depth chart, there is a chance for a new name to pop up. The lack of consistency from Devin Street, Dres Anderson, and Wendall Williams is causing the group to miss a big opportunity to find a roster spot. Street has not been consistent enough catching the football, while Anderson has struggled with drops and lining up. As for Williams, he has been limited on the field due to players in front of him getting them. The Texans appear to be working to find another wide receiver to go with DeAndre Hopkins, Braxton Miller, and Jaelen Strong.
Another hot spot for the Texans is the safety group and the efforts being made to find the right combination. Kurtis Drummond is starting to emerge as an option, especially given how well he compliments Andre Hal. Drummond is getting back his feel for the game after being placed on the Injured Reserve list last year. The Texans are working Marcus Gilchrist back slowly while trying to ensure he stays 100% healthy, but he is starting to do light field work with the defense. The safety group is something to watch moving forward and clearly an uneasy spot for the team.
There is plenty of discussion regarding the Texans offensive line and there are several facets to take into account. Chris Clark might be a better fit at left tackle because that was the position he played for the majority of his career. Clark was signed to be the swing tackle behind Duane Brown and Derek Newton but neither is currently on the team, forcing Clark to be one of the starters. Clark has better movement at left tackle and has held his own at that position this camp. The problem spot remains right tackle as Kendall Lamm and Breno Giacomini are getting the first crack at the spot. Both have had their struggles during camp. Lamm has been over matched more than once while Giacomini is trying to shake the rust off to get back into the swing of things coming off of his back injury. There is a reason the team brought in Austin Howard, trying to get him to commit, however it fell through with him going to Baltimore. There is no end in sight with the Duane Brown situation, leaving the Texans (who were depending on him being with the team) in a bad spot. The Texans are not going to budge for Brown’s demands and will conduct business as usual while looking for the right option for the team.
This report concludes our practice notes for training camp, as the preseason games are set to begin soon. We have had a rewarding two weeks covering the Texans for our readers and listeners of our podcast. The site will be packed with player interviews that we have collected over the course of the trip along analysis of the preseason moving forward. There are 20 practice reports in all and we hope that they served as good insight on what is ahead for the Texans.